Originally published as a tie in and backstory novel to the smash hit Halo: Combat Evolved, Eric Nylund’s story the Fall of Reach has been given a much more fleshed out graphic novel treatment.
Is it good?
Halo: Fall of Reach TPB (Dark Horse Comics)
There’s bad-ass, and then there’s falling from orbit while shooting a gun bad-ass.
Full disclosure: I’m a pretty big fan of Halo. I purchased my original Xbox to exclusively play Halo: Combat Evolved; I have bought every subsequent sequel on day one (and I’m not ashamed to admit, sometimes at midnight releases); I even read the novel back when it came out, to the amusement of my fellow train passengers, as a guy in a business suit pored over every word in a video game book.
This graphic novel takes that source material, and presents the backstory and origin of the Master Chief (just what everyone wanted). Adding artwork to the tale has only increased the feel of the tactics and unstoppable skill of the Spartans created to protect humanity.
This volume collects three smaller series – Boot Camp, Covenant, and Invasion, into the full tale of the Spartans’ conscription, training, augmentation and first contact with the vastly overpowered Covenant.
Is It Good?
I’m of two minds about this series. First, the story and characters are great, as seeing small slices of humanity behind these unstoppable super soldiers is refreshing. My two favorite games in the Halo series are about the smaller and more human characters thrust into the middle of the Human-Covenant war, so seeing Chief as a freckled 6 year old is excellent.
Even knowing the story in its entirety, seeing it blossom more into life, with blood and armor and the flash of plasma bolts really cements me more into this universe.
The problem? I’m not a fan of Felix Ruiz’s art style for this subject. The heavy sketch and frantic line collection looks great – and actually does very well in some scenes, but overall the hallmark of the Halo series from the get-go was clean lines, bright colors, and solid heavy art – and this feels like a mismatch for me.
I will say that at least in the sections where the tween spartans are dressed in ODST jumpsuits for a smash and grab mission – everything pulls together nicely.
Also, an annoying gripe is the decision to not show the Chief’s face as an adult. Like, I get it – faceless everyman – but keep him in his armor then, instead of creating convient shadows everywhere he stands. His vitamin D levels must be atrocious.
Halo: Fall of Reach is a great read, and not just for the Halo superfans – so I say pick it up and see how humanity rises to the challenge of defeating the undefeatable.